American Society of Cinematographers Goes Indie With New Spotlight Award

ASC honor will go to films without wide distribution; “Ida,” “Renoir” and “Winter Nomads” are first nominees

The films “Ida,” “Renoir” and “Winter Nomads” are the first three nominees for the American Society of Cinematographers’ new ASC Spotlight Award, the ASC announced on Tuesday.

The award is designed to recognize outstanding cinematography in narrative features and documentaries that do not have wide release but have screened in film festivals, internationally or in limited release.

Films were submitted for consideration by ASC members, and a blue-ribbon panel screened the entries and selected the nominees.

“We’ve been honoring outstanding achievement in cinematography since we started the ASC Awards in 1987,” said ASC Awards Chairman Lowell Peterson in a press release announcing the new award. “Several ASC members developed the concept for this award after being inspired by these types of productions. We chose to add this new honor to recognize and praise areas of our art form that previously might have been overlooked.”

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“Renoir” (photo at top) is the best-known of the nominees; the story of painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, his filmmaker son Jean Renoir and the woman who served as their muse was France’s submission in this year’s Oscar race for Best Foreign Language Film, though it did not make the shortlist.

“Ida” is a Polish drama from director Pawel Pawlikowski that won a FIPRESCI critics’ award at last year’s Toronto Film Festival, while “Winter Nomads” is a documentary about modern-day shepherds in the mountains of Switzerland.

The winner will be announced on Feb. 1 at the 28th annual ASC Awards.

The nominees:

Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski for “Ida”
Mark Ping Bing Lee for “Renoir”
Camille Cottagnoud for “Winter Nomads”